Avartana turns 2… ITC Grand Chola…

Amuse Bouche – thinly sliced Carrot with some yummy crunchy goodies inside.



The Rasam- with Cumin & Black pepper





Corn & Cherry Tomato [ with pomegranate & curd chilli]



Up close- Corn & Cherry Tomato [ with pomegranate & curd chilli]

Cracklings- [L-R: Ghongura leaf, sweet potato sheets with coriander & curry leaves, and Lotus stem served with Mango mush]



Sundried Tomato tapioca- Coriander chutney



Crispy chilli potato 2.0 with Pineapple & mint soup



Lemon leaf sorbet



Bottle gourd & Raisin- on a bed of Ginger & chilli sauce



Spinach & Curd cheese with tomato salsa and Aerated rice cake.



Fried Aubergine with Jaggery & Sesame sauce



Vegetable Rice with Okra Yoghurt



Vermicelli Yoghurt with preserved lemon



Almond Cremeux with candied orange ice cream & strawberry sauce
Celebrations are always fun, and exciting. No less when it comes to a restaurant! Happy 2nd Birthday Avartana..  True to its name, “Avartana” , a sanskrit word meaning rhythm, mysticism and magic, the restaurant has indeed been weaving magic and dazzling visitors, giving them an experience like no other! 


Known for its set course dinners, Avartana at ITC Grand Chola rolls out a revamped version of Jiaa (Soulful) -11course menu


Chef Ajit Bangera told us they are also likely to be making changes to their other 4 menus as I enjoyed the glass of clear piping hot rasam that was served from a French press. Starting with this, the rest of the evening went by with us savouring each of the courses that came by. The first time I was here was when they had just opened their doors and the feeling remains the same today as I walk into the restaurant. It has that oomph factor, right from the entrance to the decor and the food, including the plates/cutlery. 

More than the food, it is the techniques used, the ingredients, the flavours & textures that make this restaurant stand apart from the rest. The Crispy Chilli Potato 2.0 involves techniques that left us puzzled- as we pop the entire thing into our mouth, the little ball bursts and the liquid pops out with a medley of flavours. In the sundried tomato tapioca dish, the smooth sago exterior works well against the sharp coriander chutney and the tangy tomato filling. I could go on, but you get the drift right? When the spinach & curd cheese arrived on the table, I kept wondering about the textures, wondering what would be the surprise in this. As I cut into the spinach ball, the fork just went through as if it were butter. 

The Fried aubergine again had a crispy exterior that complimented the smooth inside, and the sauce was such a tangy sweet delight. It hit us then that we were almost at the end of the meal. Woah… Next came a small parcel with a spoon of Okra yoghurt. As we unwrapped it, I found rice cooked with vegetable korma of sorts, and it was such familiar flavours but presented so beautifully. We asked for a repeat of the okra yoghurt.. As with most South Indian meals, the last course is always something to cool the system, with curd. The new menu had Vermicelli Yoghurt with preserved lemon, cool comforting dish.

As with every dish, we looked forward to the last course, the dessert. We were served with Almond Cremeux with candied orange ice cream and a strong strawberry clove sauce. While the cremeux was light, the ice cream with candied orange was a fun accompaniment. The sauce was quite strong, though it worked well with the other two. 


It was yet another fabulous meal at a grand setting… That is Avartana for you!! So, if ever you want to indulge or just feel special, make a reservation and head out for dinner one evening. 

A Meal for one [Jiaa menu] – Rs 3,500 + taxes



Address: 
ITC Grand Chola 
No., 63, Anna Salai, Guindy, Chennai, Tamil Nadu 600032
Call 044 2220 0000 for reservations.
Website : http://www.itchotels.in/hotels/itcgrandchola.aspx




Disclaimer:


The reviews posted on this blog are based on my personal experience. Also remember that restaurants and eat outs sometimes change with time, so does their food and service. So, kindly consider these factors while visiting the places. Remember, no two palates are the same. Bon Appétit  🙂 

Burmese food at Soy Soi till 2nd June…







I love experimenting with food and so when a friend pinged me asking if I would like to join her for the Burmese Food festival at Soy Soi, I said yes instantly. Chennai is quite familiar with this cuisine, google “burmese food” or “atho” and you will see a whole list pop up, but I was sure there was more to it than the few I have had in our city.. 

The man of the hour Nay Myo Htet is the most humble chefs I have met. He is not a Chef who has worked in luxury hotels or travelled the world, he is a home chef, his family runs an eatery in Yangon. Nay Myo Htet’s simple no frills approach was quite refreshing. When we enquired about Burmese food, he said it was quite close to India.. They used plenty of coriander, chillies, tamarind in their dishes. Chef Peter of Soy Soi was there explaining the dishes and talking to us about how this festival came about. He also sheepishly admitted that he is yet to visit Burma but had heard of the food and so decided to try something new at the restaurant.. 

The meal began with the Htamin Lone Gyaw [crispy rice cakes served with spicy tamarind sauce] followed by three different hand tossed salads [Lethok]– one was  Burmese raw mango, the other cucumber & greens [Penny wort], and  finally Burmese tea leaf salad. My favourite was the PennyWort salad [with its mix of textures and flavours-crispy crunchy]. 

Oh I should mention the soup- Roselle soup [made with Ghongura greens] and was simply delicious… Infact, so much so that my non veg counterparts happily dug into this bowl [their soup had fish paste which many were unaccustomed to and so did not enjoy much]. A starter that stood out was Samusa Thoke – do not miss this dish [ it was Burmese samusa salad with lentil & saw tooth coriander sauce, almost like our samosa channa, I would have been happy with a bowl of this… ]

For the mains, we got yet another delightful dish- Khayanthi Hnat [ Burmese aubergene curry with coriander leaves, curry powder & red chilli powder] served with rice. I am not a fan of this veggie, but I loved this dish- it was tangy, spicy, charred and such a treat. I want to recreate this at home..  The menu did leave room for dessert, we got to try Sanwin Makin, moist semolina cake served with  chocolate cream, caramelised oranges and Ginger- honey ice cream and Shwe Yin Aye– traditional dessert made with Sticky rice, shaved ice, sago, pandan noodles and sweet coconut milk. I loved the former dessert [we did suggest they reduce the size of the cake…]

The verdict- I loved the food we had…The flavour profile is quite similar to our food, tangy sour spicy and simple… This festival is on till the 2nd June at Soy Soi…. A meal for two would be around Rs1200-1500 [approx] 

Call +91 78248 68314 for reservations.. 
Address: 
Soy Soi 
2/10, Gandhi Mandapam Road, Kotturpuram, Chennai -600085

Disclaimer: The reviews posted on this blog are based on my personal experience. Also remember these were just my views!! Remember, no two palates are the same. Bon Appétit 🙂

Asian Station, KNK Road, Chennai


The Decor and the cocktail I had….
The cool menu..
Three different kinds of dimsums..

The clear glass noodle soup

Sushi…

Jasmine Rice and Thai Green curry..

Laksa..

Tab tim grob…

There I was, walking into this giant black gated space, with walls decked up in bright coloured murals and then finally the sun hits you as you turn the corner. This place used to be the Park Pod, and then it was known for The Slate, but today I was walking in to the newly opened Asian Station [adjoining The Slate]. 

They have a huge outdoor space downstairs, and a smaller indoor air-conditioned space upstairs. I noticed they had banners displaying the various IPL teams and a giant screen as well. Would have been good to have watched a few matches here. As I made my way upstairs, I couldn’t help but wonder how at one point this entire place was Posh, looked world apart from the rest of the restaurants or hotels in the city and today it had a bit of run down look… Oh well~!! 

The closed space can seat about 25-26 people and is a long narrow hallway of sorts with cooling towers/Tower AC that helps keep it cool.. Their kitchen is downstairs[ Gulp, I cant imagine how the staff make trips up and down those narrow steps, sometimes carrying multiple dishes or plate].. The restaurant Asian Station, as the name suggests is all about the Pan asian cuisine- Chinese, Japanese, Thai, Korean and Malay. Infact, they have another outlet in Anna Nagar which is nearly 2 years old and doing pretty well I hear! 

The colours on the walls and seating was quite funky… But above it all, I loved their menu design. It was a simple one sheet, with flip option on each category. No pages and pages of complicated dishes, leaving you bamboozled.  From the soup section, I had the glass noodle clear soup, dimsums – I had a range of them, from carrots, to mushrooms to mix veg as well, each one came looking so cute and pretty in the bamboo containers. That apart I also tried their veg sushi, which was quite good [ packed with avocado and cream cheese] They were all yumm… 

For the mains, I had my favourite Jasmine Rice and Thai green curry... The other two at the table ordered Prawn red curry.. We did try their Laksa, but it lacked flavour punch [ the base needed more flavour, one of the friends dining with me was from Singapore and so she knew her Laksa…] In most pan asian places, the dessert section is quite small, we opted for the familiar Tab tim grob [ water chestnut] , which was alright [you cant really go wrong with it]… 

During the course of conversation with the man behind the brand- Rohan Ahuja, we came to know he had different chefs at the outlets and while Anna nagar one was doing very well, this one was about 2 month old and slowly picking up. He was looking at introducing a bento box style meal [targeting offices/corporate lunch] and making small tweaks to the menu as well. Coming from a completely non hospitality background, he was in love with food and so got into this business and had learnt the ropes of the business, and was quite kicked about the place. He also spoke about how that particular road had not one but nearly 5 restaurants serving asian cuisine and so it was going to be interesting to create a mark and draw crowds…. 

Well, next time you are in/around Nungambakkam, and looking for a new place to explore, head over to Asian Station~!



Address: 
Asian Station
#23, 13, Khader Nawaz Khan Rd, 
Thousand Lights West,  Chennai -600006
[Inside The Slate complex]


Disclaimer: The reviews posted on this blog are based on my personal experience. Also remember these were just my views!! Remember, no two palates are the same. Bon Appétit 🙂